Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Beauty, and Learning to Appreciate It

In the interest of training our eyes, minds and hearts to recognize what is beautiful; a painting, great music, a well-crafted speech, architecture, as well as a desire to take advantage of events in our community, I have made a resolution to say "yes" more often to invitations and opportunities. Within reason. There are, after all, meals to be cooked and little people to tend to. What I have mostly stopped doing, is coercing those who are not interested into coming along. It makes for a more peaceable, enjoyable experience, and they are old enough to pursue their own interests without me.

Prompted by a friend who was away this past year and had made the same resolution, I was inspired to catalog the wealth of the past month in terms of what we have seen and learned:

A zoo visit for our animal block and for fun. How come we can never spend less than 30 minutes in the hotter-than-Hades reptile house?

The Highland Games; a free Celtic festival along the Mississippi River. They could boffer (hit each other with foam swords) and shoot arrows, to their heart's content while I enjoyed the view of the river and a chat with a friend. They also explored runes, weapons and Irish language.

A trip to the Figge Art Museum to explore, muse and create, which also coincided with our art week; a study of lives of artists, "-isms" in art, books and Memo Art card game.
Hiking at Wild Cat Den, with only the two youngest boys; Gael and Charles. While we were there, the grist mill, the oldest one still running in our country, was functioning and open for free tours.
As a family, we attended a speech by a pastor from Uganda, who works hard to minister to all people, regardless of their race, tribal affiliation or sexual orientation. A rarity in Africa.

An exhibit, yesterday, at the Augustana Library (a local college), to see the fantastic exhibit on Color and Pattern in Nature, as well as bug-based art. It was stunning.  And fun. A great combo for my class of three young boys. It was Spanish day, so I taught them to say; "Quiero ver la mosca," and two other bugs before leaving. Even though none of our chosen ones were exhibited, with the exception of the dragon-fly, who was almost a fly, we had a lovely visit.

A trip, just me and two friends, for a weekend retreat of knitting and hiking and eating. We have so many pretty places in our region to camp and walk. Getting out to enjoy them is a treat, and a reason for gratitude. Knitting an entire weekend is the best. Ever. Add two friends and lovely woods, a campfire and some chocolate and it is perfect. I'm getting off-track.

We also make some time for taking care of people in need. We have some family projects, (no exceptions for not showing up for this); making a meal for a shelter or helping serve there, and some on our own. Discovering that people, no matter what their material circumstances of the moment, have depth, intelligence, beauty and maybe more to offer you than you than the other way around, is a beautiful gift.

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